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Reframing Randolph: Labor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolphby Andrew E. Kersten
Synopses & Reviews
At one time, Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979) was a household name. As president of the all-black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP), he was an embodiment of Americas multifaceted radical tradition, a leading spokesman for Black America, and a potent symbol of trade unionism and civil rights agitation for nearly half a century. But with the dissolution of the BSCP in the 1970s, the assaults waged against organized labor in the 1980s, and the overall silencing of labor history in U.S. popular discourse, he has been largely forgotten among large segments of the general public before whom he once loomed so large. Historians, however, have not only continued to focus on Randolph himself, but his role (either direct, or via his legacy) in a wide range of social, political, cultural, and even religious milieu and movements.
The authors of Reframing Randolph have taken Randolphs dusty portrait down from the wall to reexamine and reframe it, allowing scholars to regard him in new, and often competing, lights. This collection of essays gathers, for the very first time, many genres of perspectives on Randolph. Featuring both established and emergent intellectual voices, this project seeks to avoid both hagiography and blanket condemnation alike. The contributors represent the diverse ways that historians have approached the importance of his long and complex career in the main political, social, and cultural currents of twentieth-century African American specifically, and twentieth-century U.S. history overall. The central goal of Reframing Randolph is to achieve a combination of synthetic and critical reappraisal.
About the Author
Andrew Kersten is Dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of Idaho. Clarence Lang is Associate Professor of African & African American Studies, and American Studies, at the University of Kansas. He is the author of Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936-75.
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